Thursday, 17 November 2016

Death in Nicobar

Kakana village graveyard

4th November 2016 was a sad day. The sky wept and cicadas sang a sad requiem for the death of village Kakana’s 1st captain, Sh. Gabriel, a very noble soul and a very enterprising leader amongst his fellow villagers.  Having spent time in Nicobar, we have been witness to the fun and frolic during festive times, a very merry and dulcet Christmas season, the energy filled canoe races which are a sight to behold against the myriad blue-green hues, the alacrity to participate in song and dance events in even the other communities’ religious festivals, the slow pace of life which celebrates the rhythm of Nature,  but it is the poise and grace with which the Nicobarese deal with their grief that struck me so deeply. Unlike the noisy cacophony which we often find in certain parts of our country, these people internalize it and stand in silence, praying for the man’s last journey, paying floral tributes one by one without trying to assume unnecessary importance silently and in the most disciplined manner. Being close to Nature they understand the rhythm of life and understand the human seasons too which makes them seemingly stoic to the death. But they also remember their dead every day as their loved ones have become the part of the nature around them, every year on All Souls’ Day (2nd November) they decorate the graveyard with ixoras, mussaendas and light candles and incense sticks on the graves. At tsunami memorial too, floral wreaths are laid down and candles and incense are lit in the memory of those who perished in the gigantic sweep of the cruel tsunami of 2004  on 1st november every year. 
decorating the graves. photo courtesy : greatheart nicobari
another view of the ritual on All Souls' Day on 2nd Nov